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In a move that might worry Western powers, who have been hopeful of settling on a final deal after an interim agreement was made last month, Iran has admitted that it is continuing to test more efficient uranium enrichment technologies.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Iranian atomic energy agency, told the state-owned news company IRNA that the country was determined to keep on refining uranium to create more concentrated fuel, and that it had just recently completed initial testing on a new generation of centrifuges.
In the interim deal agreed on the 24th of November Iran stated that they would not increase its uranium enrichment capacity, a major development and sign for hope as the West looks to try and restrict the country’s nuclear program. Reuters claims that this announcement does not actually violate the deal, but nonetheless it might create concern.
Kamalvandi said that “the new generation of centrifuges was produced with a higher capacity compared with the first generation machines and we have completed initial tests.
The production of a new generation of centrifuges is in line with the (Iranian atomic energy) agency's approach of upgrading the quality of enrichment machines and increasing the rate of production by using the maximum infrastructure facilities.”
Under the interim deal Iran had agreed to not operate the centrifuges for six months, however it seems that research and development of newer versions of the centrifuge is still permitted at the Natanz plant.
Kamalvandi also claims that the International Atomic Energy Agency has been informed of the progress of the uranium enrichment technology testing.
It is believed that the new centrifuge may be the IR-2m, which was first installed this year, and is an update on the currently employed IR-1, able to enrich uranium at 2-3 times the speed.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com